Tag Archives: Learning disability

How Can A+ Help Me Homeschool?

I’m done! I guess God doesn’t intend me to homeschool anymore. 

These were my thoughts in 2009, when I just didn’t know how to do it. I had loved homeschooling my daughters for six years, but with two babies, and with the girls getting older and pushing back on me, I decided that season of our lives was over.

I loved teaching, though, so I went back to school and got my Master’s Degree in elementary and special education, and then I taught for the next eight years. I learned many skills and strategies that I wished I would have had when I was homeschooling. Now I am back to homeschooling, this time with my boys and a baby girl.

By no means am I saying that you should have a teaching credential if you’re going to homeschool. However, if you are struggling because you’re overwhelmed with curriculum choices, or because you have a child with learning or behavior issues, it can be helpful to work with someone who has some expertise in strategies and research-based learning.

Over the past eight years, I’ve worked with hundreds of students and families in schools and in private tutoring. Many of those parents struggled to find and educational fit for their children, and many of those children struggled academically, socially, or behaviorally. I have been able to assist those families and students in formulating plans to see academic growth and to increase positive social and behavioral interactions.

Sometimes we just need some informed encouragement. I am able to come alongside you and encourage you to stay the course, and to collaborate with you to formulate a plan for success. Whether you need to evaluate your curriculum options or to have a tutor for a few hours a week (in person or online), I can work with you to meet your family’s individualized needs.

I understand a good deal of what homeschoolers struggle with, because I’ve lived it. And I have children with special needs and academic challenges. So as a fellow traveler, I can relate and help you form a workable action plan. If this sounds like the thing you need, contact me at heatherpwalton@gmail.com or 502-438-4680.

A+ Education Solutions offers a range of educational services

I started A+ Education Solutions in 2013 because I had a strong desire to help students who need a little extra help to reach their goals. In the process, I started a cottage school that morphed into a more traditional model of a school, partnered with my husband as he pastors our church, moved, had a baby, had a couple of children leave the nest, taught at another wonderful Christian school, and most recently, realized that I need to return home and center myself there. Through all of it, my mission for a vocation has not changed: I believe God has called me to creatively facilitate Christian education for a diverse population of students.20170612_074936

Though I no longer run Jubilee Academy, the model I began there still lives in my heart. What is that model? Well, for starters, it’s a kinder, gentler model of education — an individualized model, where students are seen as real people who have struggles, but who also have much to offer the world. God created each of us with unique gifts, and those gifts are meant to be shared with the world. However, some people buy into the cultural lie that academics and athletics are the prized intelligences, and that others are inferior. Can you imagine a world without artists, mechanics, electricians, fast food servers, and on and on? Two of the most important jobs in the world are plumbers and trash collectors. Think about that for a moment.

But we all have to get through the academics, at least for 13 years. Some of us really struggle, though. And we just need a helping hand, maybe just for a season, and maybe all the way through. Sometimes the student needs direct help, in the form of tutoring and assessment. Other times, the student needs indirect assistance, such as an IEP advocate at school or homeschool support for his parents. A+ Education Solutions is here to help with these needs. Rates are reasonable and assistance is personalized to your family’s needs. Because I’m focusing on health and family, slots are limited, but there are a few left and I am happy to put others on my waiting list. For more information, email heatherpwalton@gmail.com or text/call 502-438-4680. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Top Ten Reasons to Enroll at Jubilee Academy

Students work together to research and present particular ecosystems to the class.
Students work together to research and present particular ecosystems to the class.

People interested in finding out more about Jubilee Academy may like to know why they should consider enrolling their children. In my opinion, here are the top ten reasons:

10. If you’re a homeschooler, it may help you avoid burnout. When I first homeschooled my two daughters, I started strong. But one of my daughters had some learning challenges, and that led to burnout. After five years of homeschooling, I enrolled my daughters in school. At Jubilee Academy, we want to help you avoid burnout. Having a couple days a week to catch up on errands, plan your homeschool curriculum, and just have a break, can give you the oasis you need in order to stay fresh as a homeschool teacher and as a parent.

9. It’s affordable. Whether you are looking for full-time or part-time programming, we are an affordable Christian school. We always will keep our tuition low, because part of our vision is to offer a Christian education to families who normally wouldn’t have access to one.

Students have opportunities to present ideas to their peers.

8. Our teachers are highly competent and caring. All have credentials and experience that qualify them to teach with excellence. Most have teaching degrees and certifications. More importantly, each teacher believes that your child is an important member of our learning community.

7. Social skills and character training are included in the curriculum. We dedicate time daily to explicitly teach social skills, and we have an extended social skills class each week. We begin each day with a devotional or Scripture reading, and we refer to the Bible throughout the day in order to teach our students to be people of good character.

6. We don’t use Common Core Standards. Many parents and teachers have concerns about the Common Core Standards which the state of Kentucky requires to be taught in the public schools. Teachers are overwhelmed with the expectations on them, and they have to dedicate time to things other than teaching. Parents are concerned about an increasingly secular humanist worldview and less emphasis on the basics. At Jubilee Academy, we do not use the Common Core Standards. Instead, we teach the basics, like spelling, handwriting, and multiplication tables.

Spending time in nature is an important part of the curriculum at Jubilee Academy.
Spending time in nature is an important part of the curriculum at Jubilee Academy.

5. We teach from a Christian worldview. Everything we do comes through the filter of Scripture. We incorporate the Bible and its principles throughout the day, from an academic and character-building standpoint. Scientifically, we embrace creationism and can back it up with evidence. We train students to treat each other according to the Golden Rule and to do their work as working for the Lord.

4. Hands-on learning engages students. We want students to be active learners, so we give them opportunities to do, rather than to just “sit and get.”  Jubilee students experience learning. Education is something they participate in–not something that is handed to them. Whoever is doing the work is doing the learning, so we want our students to work hard every day.

3. Our students have made gains in all academic areas. We recently tested our students in reading, writing, and math. Each made gains since the beginning of the school year–many in all three areas. We continually assess students to make sure they are progressing and mastering the material. We don’t move on until we know they have mastered a unit. Therefore, they make gains.

2. Our low teacher-student ratio helps us give your children an excellent education. Research confirms that one of the best determiners of a good education is a low teacher-student ratio. At Jubilee Academy, we are committed to a 1:10 student-teacher ratio.

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Students learn about fractions by playing a game with cardboard pizzas.

1. We see your child as an individual. Even though our students are in class with up to nine other children, each student is treated as an individual. We group students roughly by grade level, but we tailor learning to each child’s needs. We do this by making smaller groups within the class and by differentiating assignments and expectations. We want to see your child make progress during the year. We don’t expect every child in a grade to be on the same page. We simply expect each child to do his/her best and to make gains throughout the year.

If you share our philosophy of education, consider setting up an appointment to tour or to have your child shadow at Jubilee Academy. We would be happy to answer questions and to discuss your children’s specific needs. We still have room left for next school year, but some grades are almost full.

There is an informational meeting Feb. 18, 6:30-8 p.m. at Jubilee Academy, 7505 Kavanaugh Road, Crestwood, Ky. 40014. If you register at or before the meeting, you receive $50 off the registration fee for each child.

Don’t hesitate to call 502-439-4400, or email jubilee.academy@aol.com, if you have questions or want more information.

https://apluseducationalsolutions.com/jubilee-cottage-school-policies-and-information/

An Often Overlooked Essential of Homeschooling

Homeschooling - Gustoff family in Des Moines 020
Homeschooling – Gustoff family in Des Moines 020 (Photo credit: IowaPolitics.com)

Effective classroom teachers know that one of the secrets to having a good school year is establishing order and respect with their students. In fact, in many schools, classroom management is the curriculum during the first weeks of school. Academics take a back seat at this point. Why? Because there will be no effective teaching or learning taking place unless students follow directions and procedures. Students have to respect the teacher, or the school year will be a disaster.

The same principle applies to homeschooling. Even if you only homeschool one child, that child has to be obedient if he is going to learn. If you homeschool multiple children, each one has to follow your instructions and rules. If even one child refuses to respect you, all of your children may suffer.

I know this from experience, both as a classroom teacher and as a homeschool mom. In one class I taught, things were going pretty well in my classroom. Kids knew the routines and generally did what I said. Then a new kid entered the scene. This student wasn’t used to following directions at home or at school. He came in and disrupted my entire class. There wasn’t much learning taking place for awhile.

Looking back on my original homeschooling experience, I can say that this was the missing ingredient. I felt so pressured to complete the academic work that I overlooked the absolute necessity of first-time obedience. I got frustrated, nagged, lectured, and got headaches, but it never occurred to me to simply stop. Stop working on academics entirely. Stop and focus on making sure my children obeyed me. If I would have spent whatever time it took–even if it was a whole school year–to establish first-time obedience, I believe I would have continued to homeschool.

So here I am, beginning this journey again. This time I’m taking a lesson from my classroom teaching experience. This time I will focus on first-time obedience before we ever pick up a pencil or open a textbook.

A Cottage School is Born

Jubilee Academy at KavanaughToday I finalized plans for Jubilee Academy to operate at Kavanaugh Life Enrichment Center in Crestwood, KY. I am excited about this venture, because this is an opportunity to do what I love–which is teaching–while including the people I love–my kids–for the most important reason of all–God‘s glory.

I got the idea of beginning a cottage school because I didn’t want to quit teaching professionally even though I decided to homeschool my own children. There are several fabulous cottage schools in the Louisville, KY area, but I wanted to build a unique program based on my own philosophy of education. Jubilee Academy is a blend of the best of progressive and the best of traditional education. Students will participate in reading, writing, and math workshops each day. They will receive instruction from me, and then they’ll put the skills to use while working individually or in groups. Those needing extra instruction will have individual conferences or focus groups with me.

Since I am certified in special education, as well as in elementary education, and since I personally have two children who have ADHD, I want to reach out to others with children who struggle. I have a passion for teaching all kinds of students–students who are considered typical, as well as those with ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Asperger’s Syndrome, and High Functioning AutismJubilee Academy will admit students with and without learning challenges.

In the Old Testament, the Jubilee was the year when everyone got back any property they had mortgaged, when debts were forgiven, and when captives were set free. I see Jubilee Academy as a place of freedom and joy for students. I also see this venture as part of my personal journey of freedom.

I am looking forward to seeing what God does with Jubilee Academy in this venture of creating a cottage school.

My Journey Away From Homeschooling … And Back Again

I homeschooled for 5 1/2 years before calling it quits. I loved it at first, and felt called by God to do it. But it was hard, especially with a child with ADHD. I got burned out. I remember leaving the kitchen table to put in a load of laundry while the girls were doing their work at the table. I’d come back and they’d have run out the back door to play. Not just once … this was the kind of thing that happened regularly. Eventually I got burned out because I began homeschooling in my own very limited strength, rather than depending on God’s endless strength. I was tired and I had two babies, and I felt like I just couldn’t do it anymore. So, rather than getting first-time obedience from my children, and rather than seeking God’s strength, I sent them to school.

It’s been five years since I made that decision. In the meantime I got my Master’s degree in education, worked part-time at a couple of part-time programs for homeschoolers, and worked for two years as a special education teacher. It’s interesting that I struggled to educate my own special needs child, but I decided to teach other people’s special needs children.

What’s even more interesting are the reasons I’m returning to homeschooling. First, it’s time to go back and fix the problems in my relationship with my children that caused me to quit homeschooling the first time. (Amazingly, sending them to school did not fix the problems, as I had thought it would.) Second, my 6 year old has been diagnosed with ADHD. His teacher says it will be very hard for him to be successful in the 1st grade because there will be 24 kids in the class and he needs more attention than he will get. My boys go to a Christian school that is not equipped to deal with attention issues or learning disabilities.

So now I want to establish the proper relationship with my kids and give them the BEST possible education. I know the importance of individual attention and individual education.  Even though most teachers are fabulous people who want to give the best to their students, it’s so hard to give your best to 24 students! I absolutely believe homeschooling can be the BEST educational choice.

Another goal I have is to help other people to be able to homeschool their children through difficult circumstances, like ADHD, behavior issues, and learning disabilities. I want to help people not to give up, like I did the first time. I don’t know exactly how God wants to use my experiences, but I trust that He does.

I’m looking forward to homeschooling in the power of the Holy Spirit this time!

homeschool mom girl 2